A helpful article on preparing your team for your absence from Investment Executive June 30, 2009
Tie up loose ends and be clear on whether you should be contacted
By Olivia Glauberzon
After a year of market turbulence and handling queries from jittery clients, you probably feel as if you’ve earned a summer break. But before you head out to the cottage or the airport, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure the office will run smoothly without you.
> Meet With Your Team Before You Go Away Address any outstanding issues that will need to be resolved before you depart, says Allison Merrow, a coach and consultant with Advisor Pathways Inc. in Toronto. Having a staff meeting before you leave will not only help you tie up loose ends, it also encourages your team to anticipate any potential problems that could occur in your absence and decide how to deal with them.
> Decide Whether You Want To Be Contacted At the pre-vacation meeting, establish the circumstances under which you would want to be contacted, if at all, while you’re away, Merrow adds. While it may be more desirable from a mental-health perspective to be completely out of reach while you’re on vacation, there may be some circumstances under which you would want to be contacted. “You can’t just say, ‘This is my personal time. Too bad for you’,” says Brett Simpson, president and CEO of Rogers Group Financial Ltd. in Vancouver. How often you check in, he adds, is a matter of personal preference. “You shouldn’t be sitting on the beach with your BlackBerry,” Merrow says, “and watching for things to come in.” If you have a well-functioning team, she adds, you should be able to go away without constantly checking in.
> Use Your Out-Of-Office Email Message Remember to activate the out-of-office reply message on your email. “If you don’t put an out-of-office message on your email,” Simpson says, “people expect that you are monitoring your email.” To ensure clients are clear on the length of your absence, include the dates you will be gone on your message. “You can also have your email forwarded to team members,” Merrow says, “so they can take care of all the incoming messages.”
> Explain Your Absence On Your Voice Mail Be sure to provide the dates during which you will be away on your voice-mail greeting. Include the name and number of a team member who will be handling your calls in the meantime. Be clear on whether you’ll be checking in for messages, and whom callers should contact if they need to talk to someone immediately. If you are vacationing in an area without a stable Internet or telephone connection, be sure to communicate your check-in policies with the team, says Simpson. In this case, it might be best to have your calls forwarded to a colleague.
> Make Sure There’s Someone In The Office At All Times “A client should always be able to reach somebody with respect to their money and their business,” says Simpson. Stagger vacations of your team, he says, so a qualified team member is always available. You will enjoy your vacation more if you know your office is in good hands. IE